Camp Lejeune Contaminated Water Investigation Heats Up

Friday, March 12, 2010

Congress and a federal anti-toxics office are continuing to investigate the controversy of contaminated water at the U.S. Marine CorpsCamp Lejeune in North Carolina, where numerous military and civilian personnel have contracted various forms of cancer.

McClatchy Newspapers, which has been investigating the issue, has reported that Marine commanders withheld information from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry about the presence of the carcinogen benzene in an underground well at the military base. Lawmakers want to know why the Corps was not more forthcoming about the contamination, which lasted from the 1950s to the 1980s.

McClatchy discovered government documents showing that as many as 800,000 gallons of fuel leaked from underground storage tanks near a well that served base barracks, officers’ quarters and the base hospital. Other records reveal that federal, state and camp environmental officials knew about the benzene contamination as early as 1988.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, who oversees the Marine Corps, tried to downplay the necessity of examining benzene-related deaths at the base until media reports exposed the seriousness of the problem. The Navy is now funding a study that will do just that.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Lejeune Water Probe: Did Marine Corps Hide Benzene Data? (by Barbara Barrett, McClatchy Newspapers)


Christy 6 years ago
my mother was pregnant with me and my sister while my dad was stationed in camp lejeune, nc. i was born there in 1985 and since child birth till now, and i'm 26 i suffer from really bad eczema. all over my legs and now my right hand. its been really hard on my life with always covering up. i would like to know more information about this and how i can go about on supporting others with similar problems.
Lance Dawes 6 years ago
this situation with the water contamination is real! i too am a marine corps veteran that was stationed twice at camp jejune and at cherry point north carolina. i have noticed a very bad body rash and skin eczema since i left the military in 1983 and always wondered how i contracted it. there has to be something more to the contamination than what the government is telling people!!! too many people are getting sick and some have even have died already.i encourage all those affected too continue the fight to get compensated and support those that are fighting this cause-semper fi!!!
cory reed 8 years ago
My family and I were stationed at Camp Lejune from 1988 until 1999. We lived in Tarawa Terrace I housing where the water was stated to be the worst contaminated area. My wife suffered from a reproductive disorder causing her to have a hysterectomy, meaning that we can no longer have any more children. We did have two children. They both were born with heart murmurs. I will like to have my situation looked into for a possible case regarding this matter. Thank you for your time.
usmc_wlh1975 8 years ago
My first comment messed up the math. This is the correct figures, as contributed by valhall (a fluid scientist that I know) ( ----------------- Average s.g. of gasoline = (.7+.78)/2 = .74 Average density of gasoline = 6.1716 ppg Average benzene per gallon of gas (using 1.4) = .086402 ppg leaked gas = 1,100,000 gallons leaked benzene = 95,042.64 lb Benzene leaked benzene = 43,149,359 g Benzene solubility in water = 0.8g/L water Water = 53,936,698 L Water = 14,239,388 gallons * 159999 ~= 2,278,000,000,000 or 3,451,973 Olympic sized swimming pools of water.
usmc_wlh1975 8 years ago
density of benzene = 900000 mg/L density of TCE = 1465000 mg/L density of water = 1000000 mg/L So benzene is 0.9 percent the weight of water and floats on water. While TCE is half again as heavy as water and sinks. The benzene will always seek the surface as soon as it is free to do so in water and the TCE will seek the bottom as soon as it is free to do so. Except for any parts which have dissolved in water - they will not seek the surface or the bottom. Water solubility - Water solubility can be defined as the maximum concentration of a solute which can be carried in water under equilibrium conditions and is generally given as ppm (parts per million) or mg/l (milligrams per liter). The water solubility limit of TCE is 1000 mg/l (the maximum concentration of TCE that can be in aqueous solution at ~68 degrees F). The solution will not seek the bottom when free to do so, but will permeate the water volume equally. The solubility of benzene is 0.8G/l which means that 0.8 of a gram will dissolve into a liter of water. In solution, the benzene will not seek the surface of the water and will permeate throughout the water volume. That means that 160 million times more benzene will combine with water than is safe according to the maximum contamination standard of 5 ppb. Another way of thinking of this is to consider that you would have to take one liter of water which was maximally contaminated with benzene and dilute it in 42,105,263 gallons of water in order to have the benzene be at safe levels for drinking water. That is, it would take about 64 Olympic sized swimming pools worth of water to dilute 0.8 grams of benzene down to 5 ppb! The average benzene content of gasoline during the 30 year period that leaks could have been occurring at the Fuel Farm would have been approximately 1.4 percent per gallon. That means that at least 15,400 gallons of benzene were released into the ground at the Fuel Farm by leaking 1.1 million gallons of gasoline. Not too bad right? Unless you consider that 15,400 gallons is equal to approximately 51,446,900 grams. That means a whole lot of water could become in solution with this benzene before it would get below the levels regulated by the EPA!!! It would take at least 2,166,185,255,034,700 Gallons of water to dilute this amount of benzene down to the 5 ppb maximum contaminant levels that EPA allows. In English that is 2 quadrillion, 166 trillion, 185 billion, 255 million, 34 thousand, 700 Gallons of water. That is, it would take the water from 3,282,098,871 Olympic sized swimming pools to dilute this amount of benzene down to 5 ppb!!!

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